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Decision of the European Ombudsman on complaint 384/98/OV against the European Commission

Strasbourg, 15 July 1998

Dear Mr W.
On 7 April 1998 you made a complaint to the European Ombudsman concerning a Call for proposals made by the Commission (Directorate III) under its Esprit Programme, and more particularly the fact that no funding was available for successful proposals.
On 1 July 1998 you sent a letter in which you informed the Ombudsman about a correspondence received from DG III.


According to the complainant the relevant facts were as follows :
The complaint is on behalf of Prutech Innovation Services Ltd., an international consortium. Further to a Call for proposals for Leveraging Actions under the Esprit Programme of DG III of the Commission (published on 16 September 1997), the complainant produced a high quality proposal, for which it had wasted considerable effort. However, the complainant was informed that no funds existed to support submissions and that no further proposals could be accepted. Further to a letter of the complainant to the Head of the Software Technologies Unit of DG III, this information was confirmed in a reply sent to the complainant on 19 March 1998.
Also, on the closing date of the Call for proposals (17 March 1998), the DG III website carried information showing that the Call was still open to Leveraging Actions. Therefore the complainant wrote to the Ombudsman asking for his intervention in order to have its proposal evaluated in a proper and transparent way.
On 1 July 1998, the complainant sent a letter to the Ombudsman informing him about a correspondence received from DG III. From this letter it appeared that the Commission finally met its formal commitments to evaluate the complainant's proposal. Therefore, the complainant informed the Ombudsman that it did not need to further pursue the complaint.


  1. The complainant alleges that it produced a high quality proposal further to a Call for proposals under the Esprit Programme for which it appeared that no funding was made available. This information was confirmed by DG III which regretted the disappointment it might have caused to the complainant.
  2. The complainant informed the Ombudsman in a letter dated 1 July 1998 that he was grateful for the Ombudsman's intervention which appeared to have been successful in ensuring that DG III met its formal commitments. The reason for this was that the complainant had received a letter from DG III dated 17 June 1998 in which, thanking the complainant for having submitted a proposal in response to the Esprit Call for proposals, it informed that the procedure for reaching a definitive formal decision had started and that the complainant would be informed of its outcome within 8 weeks.
  3. Conclusion
    It appears from the information supplied to the European Ombudsman by the complainant that the Commission has taken steps to settle the matter and has thereby satisfied the complainant. The Ombudsman has therefore decided to close the case.

Yours sincerely
Jacob Söderman